For a people obsessed – OBSESSED – with outward appearances and generous hospitality, Italians are oddly completely fine with turning their beaches and other public places into uninviting havens of filth.
I had a beautiful swim yesterday, but the beach was – how shall we say this? – less than pleasant.
For your edification, and based on my own vigorous research*, I share with you the 4 Surefire Steps to Making Your Beach Unseemly:
1. Cover the beach with cigarette butts. Ensure these are evenly distributed so that there are no patches where a tourist could lay their towel. Make sure the butts are weather worn and soft enough to feel kind of gross underfoot and occasionally get stuck between your toes.
2. Ditto dog and cat poo.
3. At all times there must be a boy in his late teens or early twenties playing music through a cheap radio or mobile phone. The music must be dull and repetitive, preferably rap. Loudly. On repeat. Through tinny speakers.
4. Whenever a tourist makes a statement such as ‘ah, the beauty of nature’, ‘it’s so nice to be outdoors’, ‘this is the life’, ‘what a spectcular view’ or ‘gosh, this is pretty’ – the moment one of these statements is uttered, a woman within their vicinity must light up a cigarette and smoke it ostentatiously, producing far more smoke than is usually necessary. At its conclusion, she should toss the cigarette butt in the sand.
*Conducted yesterday between 11:45 – 12:15